On February 8th, Governor Rick Snyder fulfilled his constitutional duty and presented an executive budget for 2018 to the legislature. One of the overarching themes in the recommendation was increased spending on infrastructure, which is a clear sign on the direction the Governor would like to go in his final two years in office.
Coming off the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report that recommended over 100 different policy and spending increases, Governor Snyder’s budget proposes $20 million for the Michigan Infrastructure Fund. $2 million is recommended to implement a pilot program on a statewide asset management database to help coordinate infrastructure projects. This statewide infrastructure asset management program is something that the staff at MITA has been working on for years now through the state’s Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) grant program, which allocates money to communities to develop an asset management strategy for their underground infrastructure.
Budget Director Al Pscholka mentioned during the budget presentation that the $20 million figure for the infrastructure fund was a marker and start up money for the time being and that once the pilot project for integrating all infrastructure into an asset management program is underway this spring, the administration would likely request up to $100 million for the infrastructure fund. Along with the increase to the Michigan Infrastructure Fund and the asset management proposal, the Governor is also recommending that an Infrastructure Commission be established to oversee the fund. The details of what that may look like are still not known.
The 2018 fiscal year budget will include $215 million more for roads and bridges in Michigan and $15 million more for transit and rail programs. That money is the first full year of new revenues coming into the transportation budget from the gas tax and registration fees that passed in the 2015 road funding plan. Those went up on January 1st of this year. The full phase in of over $1.2 billion in additional revenue for transportation will be complete in 2021.
As the budget moves through the process, MITA staff will continue to monitor and push for more investment into all facets of infrastructure. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Mike Nystrom, MITA’s Executive Vice President, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lance Binoniemi, MITA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, at email@example.com. They can also be reached at 517-347-8336.